For Jewish Elderly Serves Seniors Across Chicago Area
by John Fries
Older adults have unique needs and requirements. For seniors living
in the greater Chicagoland area, the Council for Jewish Elderly (CJE)
offers a range of services designed to meet those needs and provide
excellent care and support. Older adults, whether living at home or
requiring the protection available at a long term care facility, can
benefit from CJE’s services.
For more than 30 years, CJE has been caring for seniors and helping
them to enjoy the best quality of life possible. Today, with numerous
facilities, programs and services, the agency continues to determine
and meet seniors’ needs in a highly professional and confidential
Also, CJE services are open to all; the agency serves both Jewish
and non-Jewish seniors.
The CJE’s staff includes 800 highly skilled employees, from medical
professionals like Dr. Sandy Finkel, a geriatric psychiatrist who
works on site at the agency’s main office, to administrators, activity
personnel, in-home workers, bus drivers and many others.
"We have a strong commitment to ensure that everyone who works at
CJE is sensitive to the needs of older adults, so ongoing staff education
and close supervision is continually provided to employees," said
Susan Swartz, CJE’s media relations director.
She added that CJE’s commitment even extends to hiring people with
bilingual abilities. "Given that a large number of seniors who seek
assistance from the CJE are from the former Soviet Union," she said,
"several members of the agency’s staff who are fluent in Russian are
available to help in a variety of areas, including counseling and
providing assistance with paperwork."
The commitment works. Last year, the CJE’s resource specialists fielded
calls from 2,800 people seeking information about the agency’s programs
Something for Everyone
Offerings at the agency are many, ranging from home health, adult
day services, private care management, health education programs,
blood pressure screenings, flu shots and more, to consumer assistance
at CJE resource centers and Shabbat luncheons that provide hot meals,
entertainment and socialization for isolated seniors.
CJE’s social workers provide counseling to help older people and family
members cope with the daily stresses associated with aging. Support
groups are offered to clients and caregivers.
For seniors living at home, the agency provides an array of services
to help them remain independent. It also works with family members
both nearby and far away to ensure that their loved ones receive the
best possible care.
The volume is mind-boggling. Last year alone, CJE in-home workers
spent nearly 192,000 hours providing personal care services for at-home
seniors, including bathing, shopping, laundry and housecleaning assistance.
They also prepared and delivered about 154,000 nutritious, kosher
meals—including brisket, whitefish, salmon patties and stuffed peppers--to
those who were unable to shop for food.
And that’s just the beginning. Last year, the agency helped more than
500 seniors apply for health benefits and pharmaceutical discounts,
and its "Shalom" buses made 62,600 trips to transport seniors to medical
appointments, grocery stores and CJE community education programs.
Looking for a New Home?
For seniors in search of housing, CJE provides a number of diverse
options, including apartments, assisted living residences, retirement
homes and a long-term care facility.
Members of the CJE’s experienced staff are always glad to meet with
seniors and their family members, explain the benefits of each, and
help them determine the most appropriate living arrangements.
CJE’s Lieberman Geriatric Health Centre, located in Skokie, is a 240-bed,
skilled long-term care facility for very frail seniors who need residential
care. Lieberman features private rooms, and also provides post-hospitalization
rehab care, as well as nursing and therapy for patients covered by
Amenities at Lieberman include an onsite health center, dining room
with Kosher meals, beauty and barbershop, synagogue, social hall and
sculpture garden. Each week, the facility’s agenda includes an assortment
of recreational, religious and rehabilitative programs.
CJE’s Short Stay Rehab at Lieberman Centre helps patients reach their
maximum potential and quickly return home to an independent lifestyle.
Lieberman's fifth floor is home to residents with Alzheimer’s disease
and other cognitive disorders. The floor features specially designed
furniture and other resources, and staff members plan and schedule
Swartz said the objective is to help each patient live a happy, safe
and productive life. "Maximizing abilities, rather than emphasizing
disabilities, is one of the most important ways to offer support to
a person who has Alzheimer’s," said Swartz. "We encourage and foster
an approach to Alzheimer’s and dementia care that views residents,
families and staff as partners in the caregiving process."
CJE continues to grow and expand, and inquiries come in daily via
telephone and the agency’s website. The agency also provides referrals
to seniors across the U.S., who don’t have access to CJE programs,
services and resources in the Chicago area.